Wealdstone’s quest for a playoff place is very much in their own hands again after they ultimately cruised to victory over 10 men Kingstonian on Saturday. With other results also going their way, they are now just two points off 5th place with a game in hand ensuring that the season should run to a nail biting climax.
But Stones did not have it all their own way by any means in this entertaining clash and there was a scare for Stones early on when a ball from the back released Alan Tait; ‘keeper Ashlee Jones rushed from his goal to clear but in turn hacked down the K’s midfielder. The Braintree loanee was handed a yellow card for the challenge, and from the resultant free kick Bobby Traynor fired over.
Both sides were struggling to create chances in the opening half hour, although Stones did have a decent chance on 23 minutes when Richard Jolly found Tom Pett with an intelligent ball to the near post, but the tricky midfielder saw his shot turned behind for a corner.
In a dramatic turn of events, the visitors found themselves down to ten men on 25 minutes when Ian Gayle clumsily bundled over James Mulley on the edge of the box; the referee ruled that the central defender was the last man and immediately brandished a straight red.
Tempers then boiled over just past the half hour mark. Saheed Sankoh threw Scott McCubbin to the ground; remarkably the Kingstonian player got off with just a warning whilst McCubbin was booked.
Wealdstone took the lead with seven minutes left to play in the half. A swift counter attack saw Lee Chappell surge down the middle of the park before looking to release Jolly. A Kingstonian defender only managed to half clear Chappell’s through ball though and it came back to the feet of the midfielder who took a touch before firing a great 20 yard effort across the face of goal and underneath K’s ‘keeper Rob Tolfrey for his third goal of the season.
Tom Pett was enjoying another effective game for Wealdstone and the youngster’s trickery created an opening five minutes after the restart when he jinked his way into the box before laying the ball off to Mulley who drilled just over the bar.
Kingstonian rocked Stones with an equaliser on 53 minutes. Wes Parker was adjudged to have tripped Sankoh in the box and Bobby Traynor stepped up to easily slot the resultant spot kick past Jones.
The game was level for just three minutes though as Stones took the lead again with a great flowing move. Pett and Mulley played a neat one two with the former threading the ball over the top to Richard Jolly who made no mistake with a vicious left foot finish into the top corner which gave Tolfrey no chance.
The lead was nearly doubled soon after when the excellent Pett showed great skill to bring the ball down in the box before firing onto the inside of the post. The loose ball fell kindly to substitute Peter Dean whose low effort flew just wide of the post.
Wealdstone grabbed a third on 76 minutes and again Pett was heavily involved. Chappell played a cross field pass to the former Potters Bar man who brought the ball down before laying off to Peter Dean on the edge of the box who swept the ball into the bottom corner whose joy at finally netting was plain to see.
Only some great goalkeeping from Tolfrey denied Stones a fourth with eight minutes left to play as he dived full stretch to his left to claw away a powerful effort from sub Connor Smith.
There was then a contender for miss of the season from Dean as the striker somehow managed to find the underside of the crossbar from two yards out after he had been picked out by Smith.
As Ks lost their shape completely, a fourth finally arrived with three minutes left to play; McCubbin released Smith who beat the offside trap before neatly lifting the ball over Tolfrey and into a gaping net.
Next up for Wealdstone is the Middlesex County Senior Cup final on Monday night against Hampton and Richmond at Uxbridge FC’s ground, 7:30 kick off. Following that match they face neighbours Harrow Borough in a vital league clash at Earlsmead two days later (Wednesday), 7:45 kick off.
Report by Stuart Warren
Wealdstone: Jones, McCubbin, Massey, Parker (c), Cronin, Brooks, Pett (Smith 77), O’Leary, Mulley (Dean 62), Jolly (Fitzgerald 82), Chappell. Subs not used: Hoban, Poniskaitis
Man of the match: Tom Pett